The obesity stigma in the UK has reached a new low, after a couple in Norfolk was arrested on “suspicion of child cruelty”, after they got wind of the fact that their 11-year-old son weighs 15 stone (roughly 210 lbs). What kind of country do we live in if childhood obesity is now being blamed on the parents.
According to the story, doctors at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in King’s Lynn had notified the police after treating the boy twice, and the parents were later visited by social workers. The parents were eventually threatened with legal action if they don’t keep their son at a “healthy weight”, which they said they had been trying to do.
The sensationalized obesity crisis has created a stigmatizing climate against people defined as “fat” or “obese”. How long will it be before every obese kid’s parents get arrested on “suspicion of child cruelty” just so every family can eat healthy?
For me, this is the result of people not taking responsibility for their health problems, seeking instead to scapegoat others. In this case, childhood obesity is being blamed entirely on the parents, when it’s possible that part of it is the kids’ fault.
We can’t keep policing the things we ought to be taking responsibility for. If we keep denying responsibility for our obesity problem, then we’ll never learn anything, and the obesity problem will never go away.
Besides, the sooner we admit that the obesity crisis is largely our fault, the closer we get to solving it, while still having the freedom to eat what we want without being judged for it.